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Breaking the Mold: Impacts of Adventure Education on Girls

Anja Whittington, Nadine Budbill

Abstract


Adventure education programs have been created to address the developmental needs of adolescent girls. Such programs must be evaluated to determine whether they are having their intended impact. The purpose of this evaluation was to examine whether Dirt Divas, a mountain bike and empowerment program for girls, accomplishes its goals. Using a three-point numerical rating scale and open-ended questions on post-program evaluations and qualitative interviews, the authors evaluated whether Dirt Divas was meeting its goals to: (a) strengthen girls' physical activity and promote positive body image, (b) foster positive gender identity development and resistance to gender role stereotypes, and (c) support girls' resiliency. Findings suggest Dirt Divas impacts girls in the following ways: increased confidence in physical activity, feelings of physical strength, confidence, selfesteem, perseverance, courage, resiliency, a connection with other girls and a sense of self. Less clear are impacts on gender identity development, gender role stereotypes and body image.


Keywords


girls' development; adventure education; evaluation

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